One of Inc’s 5,000 fastest growing companies, you ought to have your eye on BRINK. Located in both Tucson and D.C., BRINK is a creative group comprised of an agency, a consultancy, a foundation, and a film distribution company. With clients ranging from corporations to causes, their purpose is to elevate their communities and culture.
On the second episode of Impact Everywhere, you’ll hear from Josh Belhumeur, Managing Partner and Creative Director of BRINK. Check out the podcast to hear his full thoughts on binaries, corporate social activism, and storytelling at any of these links:
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In a world that is increasingly controlled by machines — the fight to retain our humanity is becoming more important. The importance of taking a stance is growing in parallel with our need to hold space to hear the opinions of the other side.
Though our use of computers may not change our flesh and blood, it may be impacting our minds. Josh explains that the algorithms used to track our preferences and feed us information are negatively affecting how we view the world. Imagine the binary “1” and “0” as a simple “yes” or “no.” When you click on something, a platform like Facebook will mark you as a “yes” and continue to feed you similar content. When we are constantly exposed to the same things, it can become increasingly more difficult to have meaningful conversations with people of differing opinions. The world is not all 1s and 0s or black and white. There’s a lot of grey in there — but how do we interact with it?
Josh suggests this is not just the responsibility of media and individuals, but also other players like corporations.
“Solving these problems won’t be easy, but we have to start somewhere. We need to get back to the original intent of social media to facilitate human connection, and not simply treat people as data points for shareholders. There’s still plenty of profit to be made and room for advertisers to exist responsibly without the loss of humanity in the process.” Reference
Let’s look at the Edelman Trust Barometer. In 2020, people found businesses to be competent, but not ethical. In fact, none of the below organizations were found to be both competent and ethical. But that doesn’t make them inherently bad. This is the grey of the world.
BRINK takes clients from these groups and helps them improve their ethics. Josh sees businesses shifting emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Social Activism. The difference is that with CSR, corporations are recognizing that their actions may have negative externalities and that it is acceptable to continue with business as usual as long as they offset it somehow. CSA is not simply accepting that businesses are “innately bad,” but rather striving to positively impact society and doing so unapologetically, even if it costs them.
Josh provides Patagonia as an example. This brand not only goes against consumerism by offering free repairs on their products so you can use them forever, but they take actual action to foster change. When the Trump Administration moved to reduce the size of two national monuments in 2017, Patagonia did not simply release a commercial speaking out, but they sued them alongside 5 Native American tribes and other grassroots organizations.
BRINK uses this ‘show not tell’ approach when consulting for organizations on how to impact change. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as suing the government, but can be as simple as a credit union releasing a commercial encouraging localism in their community. Challenge yourself to think about how the organizations you are involved in can take measurable action to shape the society you want to live in.
If you’re curious to learn more about BRINK, check out their website here. You can also follow their Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. If you’d like to hear more of Josh’s conversation, listen to the podcast on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or YouTube.
Next episode, Benjamin Von Wong will be interviewing Will Messner of World Vision, a global nonprofit that works on humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy. Tune in to hear his thoughts on different ways change can be achieved and the importance of art within the nonprofit sector.
For those who don’t podcast, here’s the full episode on YouTube:
Belhumeur, Joshua. “Corporate Social Activism.” BRINK, www.brink.com/wonder/corporate-social-activism/.
BRINK. “Growing Up: Inc Magazine Names BRINK One of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies.” BRINK, brink.com/wonder/brink-ranks-on-inc/.
BRINK. “How the Internet Is Killing Humanity.” BRINK, www.brink.com/wonder/how-the-internet-is-killing-humanity/.
Demetis, Dionysios. “Algorithms Are Already Making Decisions For Humans, And It’s Getting Weird.” Science Alert, 11 Mar. 2019, www.sciencealert.com/algorithms-are-already-making-decisions-for-us-and-some-are-utter-madness.
Edelman. Edelman Trust Barometer 2020. Edelman, 2020, Edelman Trust Barometer 2020, cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/440941/Trust%20Barometer%202020/2020%20Edelman%20Trust%20Barometer%20Global%20Report.pdf?utm_campaign=Global:%20Trust%20Barometer%202020&utm_source=Website.
Patagonia. “Hey, How’s That Lawsuit Against the President Going?” Patagonia, www.patagonia.com/stories/hey-hows-that-lawsuit-against-the-president-going/story-72248.html.